I am a little-of-this-little-of-that kind of cook. So far, the hardest thing about this challenge for me is that I have to restrain myself from reaching into my pantry cupboard. Sticking to the recipe takes discipline. Restraint and discipline are two qualities I severely lack when it comes to food.
This recipe requires a little more engagement than the calzones, which surprised me. But it combines some absolute winners: curry, coconut milk, fennel, and cilantro.
4 chicken thighs
1 spaghetti squash
1lb green beans
1 fennel bulb
1 can coconut milk
5 small or 3 large cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons of curry powder
1/2 bunch cilantro
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to season
Optional: 1/3 cup chopped tomatoes or pasta sauce (I added this in, because I found one of my kids hadn’t eaten theirs with the calzones the night before, so I covered it, put it in the fridge, and added it to the chicken. It is not essential to the recipe, but waste nothing, remember?
Step 1 – Prepare Vegetables (10 minutes)
Before you begin, preheat oven to 400 degrees
half spaghetti squash and remove seeds
top and tail the beans
chop the fennel
mince the garlic
chop the cilantro
open the can of milk
Tip: here’s a great instructional video for how to prepare fennel
Step 2 – Bake Squash (2 minutes)
In a baking sheet, add 2 cups of water
Lay the squash open sides down in the water
Pop into the pre-heated oven to cook (roughly 30 minutes)
Step 3 – Sauté (15 minutes)
Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a large pan over medium heat, you will need a pan with a lid, so I used a saucepan
Add garlic and fennel, and sauté for five minutes
Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper
Add chicken thighs to the pan and brown on both sides
Step 4 – Chicken Curry (15 minutes)
Add the coconut milk, curry seasoning, and optional tomato/pasta sauce to the chicken
Cover and let simmer
Tip: read the ingredients on your curry powder when you buy it, a good curry powder will have just a few essential ingredients, like coriander, and turmeric. I prefer to get one without ground chili, because I can add that myself and control the heat depending on who I am cooking for.
Step 4 – Green Beans (10 minutes)
In a small pan, bring 3 cups of water to a rolling boil over medium heat
Add a little salt
Add green beans
Cover and allow to simmer
Step 5 – Spaghetti Squash (5 minutes)
Remove the spaghetti squash from the oven
Carefully, using oven gloves, flip the squash over
Using a fork, pull the spaghetti strings away from the shell.
Step 6 – Plating The Food (2 minutes)
Remove chicken from heat and allow to rest for a few minutes
Remove the green beans from heat, drain, and set aside
Each plate gets a generous serving of spaghetti squash, a chicken thigh, and a quarter pound of green beans
Garnish generously with chopped cilantro
Assessment: This meal was so delicious and satisfying, we all cleaned our plates except for my daughter who wasn’t feeling well and went to bed early. I brought hers into work today for lunch and it was even better today than it was last night. Creamy without being too rich, and full of flavor.
Total time: 60 minutes
Mess factor: one large pan, a baking sheet, and a small pan for the beans (and again, lots of bowls if you are photographing the process. I have a collection of little pottery dipping bowls that are getting excellent mileage).
Waste: I saved the fennel fronds, garlic peels, spaghetti squash seeds and skins, cilantro stems, and bean tips for our veggie stock.
There was nothing to compost.
I put the tie from the cilantro in my kitchen drawer for reuse.
The plastic bag the beans came in (which could also have been wiped down and re-used – it’s bpa free,) was recycled. As was the cryovac chicken bag which I rinsed, along with the can.
What’s Left Over for the Week?
1 spaghetti squash
4 ears corn
1 bunch radishes
2lb sweet potatoes 1lb sweet potatoes
1 bunch brussel sprout leaves
1lb sweet peppers 2 sweet peppers 1lb green beans 1 fennel bulb 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes 1 green leaf lettuce 1/2 a green leaf lettuce 1 bunch swiss chard 1.2lb chicken thighs from Feather Brook Farm 8oz Atwells Gold cheese from Narragansett Creamery 4oz cheese 16oz pasta sauce from Poblano Farms 1 lemon 1/2 a lemon 8oz of garlic 6oz garlic 1 bunch of cilantro 1/2 bunch cilantro
1lb pizza dough
1 can organic garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
10oz GMO-free lo mein egg noodles
1 can organic coconut milk